I was taught that in Luke 14:26 the Greek word for hate means "love less," and that is what I have taught others. To my surprise, when I looked it up I saw that it doesn't. The Greek word miseo means: to hate, pursue with hatred, detest. How do you teach this point in the Discipleship study? I want to correctly handle the Word of truth.
Excellent question. The sense of what Jesus really said is actually minimized when we jump to Matthew 10:37 for an "explanation" of Luke 14:26. I do not think this is the best way to explain difficult passages - to find another passage that presents the point in a softer, less pointed form. (Not that Matthew was doing this; he was making a different point.)
An easier solution -- and this is how I clarify the passage in studying discipleship with my friends -- is to turn to Luke 16:13, just a page or so after the troublesome 14:26. Here Jesus says that no one can serve two masters. He will, in effect, "love" (serve) one and "hate" the other.
I would encourage you not to use words of Jesus from one section of one gospel to illuminate other words of his in another section of another gospel, at least not before you have come to terms with the theological emphasis of the first gospel. In this case, use Luke 16, not Matthew 10, to clarify Luke 14.
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